Moose Size Comparison: Just How Big Are They?

Written by AZ Animals Staff
Updated: February 9, 2022
Image Credit Michael Liggett/
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Just take a look at the picture below with a moose walking in front of a group of people. Moose are tall! But just how big are moose? In this complete moose size comparison guide, we’ll tackle how moose compare to species like elk, horses, and even people. Let’s get started!

Moose Size Comparison - Tall Moose
As we said, moose are tall!


Moose Size Comparison: The Types of Moose

Before we get started, it is important to note that there are many types of moose that are different sizes. For example, there are four subspecies of moose in North America. In Europe, moose are called elk (it’s confusing, we know!), and there are another four subspecies.

Here are a few highlights of the different types of moose:

  • The largest subspecies of moose are the Alaska Yukon moose. Incredibly, the largest Alaskan moose ever recorded weighed 1,808 pounds. Alaskan moose have antlers that measured more than 80 inches across!
  • The largest Eurasian species of moose is the East Siberian elk. These moose are only slightly smaller than Alaskan moose and can reportedly weigh more than 1,600 pounds.
  • Yellowstone moose are the smallest subspecies of moose in North America. The National Parks Service reports Yellowstone moose males weigh about 1,000 pounds.
  • The smallest moose subspecies lives in the Amur region near the border of Russia and China. Even while being the “runt of the litter,” this moose can stand about 6 feet tall!

With some moose standing more than 7 feet at the shoulder, they’re towering creatures. Let’s compare moose heights versus other animals.

Moose vs. Human Size Comparison

Moose Size Comparison - Moose vs Elk vs Horse vs Human
A size comparison of a moose up against an elk, horse, and human

You’re lost and disoriented in a forested area in northern Alaska when you emerge from behind a tree to find yourself standing face-to-face with a giant. It’s a moose. Are you standing eye to eye?

Perhaps if you’re really tall!

Alaskan moose can often surpass 7 feet tall. In fact, the largest ever recorded Alaskan moose measured 7 feet 7 inches at its shoulders! For comparison, that’s an inch taller than Yao Ming, one of the tallest NBA players ever!

Tallest Moose - Yao Ming
Yao Ming (middle) is one of the tallest NBA players ever. He’d barely reach the shoulders of the tallest moose ever!


Remember though, these measurements for moose just reach their shoulder. A moose raising its head above its shoulder level would stand ever taller. When considering the size of antlers, the hoof to antler height on moose with a raised head could potentially reach more than 10 feet, which is taller than an NBA basketball hoop!

Moose Size Comparison to a Horse

Now that we’ve established the tallest moose stood about 7 feet 7 inches at its shoulders, how does that compare to a horse?

Horses are measured to their ‘withers’ which is a ridge between their shoulder blades. Thoroughbred horses average about 5 feet 4 inches at their withers, which would mean an average male Alaskan moose would stand a foot to a foot and a half taller at the shoulders.

Yet, horses have extremely variable heights. The tallest horse was a Belgian Gelding named Big Jake who stood 82.75 inches. That’s a height that’s slightly shorter than 7 feet tall. That means that the world’s tallest horse would measure about the same height as a male Alaskan moose. However, it would still be nearly 9 inches shorter at the shoulder than the tallest moose ever recorded!

Moose Size Comparison to an Elk

Elk are really tall, right? Compared to most deer species, this would be true. However, when compared to moose, elk are simply overmatched.

Bull elks measure about 5 feet tall at the shoulder. That means standing next to large Alaskan moose they’d be nearly two feet shorter! Male elks only weigh about half as much as a fully grown bull Alaskan moose.

Yet, a comparison of elk and moose standing next to one another might not look as stark as expected. The range of elk in North America doesn’t extend into Alaska, which means most interactions between elk and moose would take place between the much smaller Yellowstone moose which measure closer to 6 feet at the shoulder.

Moose Size Comparison - Moose in Field
A moose in a field

Michael Liggett/

Moose Size Comparison to an Elephant

We were tired of moose overwhelming every other size comparison so we finally made it an unfair fight.

African elephants can measure up to 13 feet at their shoulder while Asian elephants measure up to 11 feet at their shoulder. Yet, there is a scenario that could put elephants and moose eye-to-eye.

Like moose, male elephants are larger than females. Female Asian elephants average slightly less than 8 feet tall at their shoulder. That means the largest bull moose ever recorded standing next to an average female Asian elephant would measure about the same height at the shoulders.

It might be an unlikely scenario, but the bottom line is that moose are very tall creatures!

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AZ Animals is a growing team of animals experts, researchers, farmers, conservationists, writers, editors, and -- of course -- pet owners who have come together to help you better understand the animal kingdom and how we interact.

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